James T. McKinstry
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Age 87, passed away on October 25, 2013 in Wilmington, DE.
Born in Westfield, NJ on June 14, 1926, Jim lived in Albany, NY, San Antonio, TX, and Nashville, TN before settling in Wilmington, DE in 1939. He was a graduate of P.S. duPont High School in 1943. Jim started college at the University of the South and left to serve the U.S. Navy in WWII as a quartermaster in the South China Sea.
He completed his education at Washington and Lee University, and graduated law school from the University of Pennsylvania. Jim ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1960, and while he was not elected, he won 52 years of marriage with his wife Jane, whom he met during his campaign. His law career in Wilmington at the firm of Richards, Layton and Finger lasted 49 years until he retired at age 70. He was a champion for pro-bono work and mentoring lawyers.
Jim was an avid golfer, squash player, and connoisseur of choral music. He was dedicated to his family and grandchildren and enjoyed many family vacations on the Jersey shore.
A lifetime Rotarian, he served as the Wilmington Rotary Club president in 1985-1986. Jim was a founding member of the Blood Bank of Delaware in 1954, and was a lifetime member of the YMCA where he played handball and squash. He was a vestryman at St. John's Cathedral and diocesan delegate to several Episcopal conventions. Jim served on several boards throughout his life and, in retirement, volunteered for the Red Cross and FISH.
Jim channeled his love of history and his dedication to the state of Delaware by being Delaware's founding member of the Bicentennial Council of the Thirteen Original States, along with serving as the second Chairman of the Delaware Heritage Commission for the Bicentennial.
He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the General Society of Colonial Wars, the George Washington Society, the Wilmington Club, and the Wilmington Country Club.
Jim was predeceased by his parents, The Right Reverend Arthur R. and Isabelle Van Dorn McKinstry, and sisters Isabelle Stadler, Margaret Maull, and Barbara Lawton.
Jim is survived by his wife Jane, and three children: Tom (Pamela), Susan, and Karen (Erik). He was especially proud of his six grandchildren: Samuel, Michael, Megan, Jack, Thomas, and Andrew. He is also survived by his brother Arthur S. McKinstry (Elaine).
The family is very appreciative of the thoughtful and tender care given to Jim at the Milton and Hattie Kutz Home.
A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Friday, November 1, 2013 at the Christ Church, 505 E. Buck Road, Greenville, DE. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Delaware Historical Society, 505 N. Market Street, Wilmington DE 19801 or to the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, 719 N. Shipley St. Wilmington, DE 19801.
To sign guest book, visit
Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home - New Castle
1000 N. DuPont Highway New Castle, DE 19720
Published in The News Journal on Oct. 30, 2013